Adobe Lightroom 4 Tutorial

←back to Lightroom Tutorial Part 3

Export from Lightroom 4

So now that you’ve successfully processed your first batch of photos, what’s next? Well, since raw photos can’t be viewed without photo processing software, you’re going to want to export your photos as a regular photo format (such as JPEG or PNG) so you can use the photos.

I usually make another pass through the photos marking the best ones with a blue label at this point, but you can just select the ones you want to export by holding the Command key and clicking the photos you want to export.

Lightroom Tutorial Export

Under the “File” menu, choose the “Export” option. This will bring up a dialog box with a bunch of options pertaining to your export.

The first section “Export Location” is where you want Lightroom to put your exported photos. I usually just export to my desktop, but you can be more organized about where you put them.

The next section “File Naming” allows you do define how you want Lightroom to name your files. I usually have it use a custom name followed by a sequence of numbers, so I know exactly what the photos are of. Giving the photos a descriptive custom name also makes it easier to find the photos on your hard drive in the future.

Buy Adobe Lightroom 4

The next applicable section is “File Settings”, which allows you to choose what type of file (JPEG, PNG, etc) you want Lightroom to export your photos as. You can also set the compression level (quality) of the file in this area. The higher the quality, the lower the compression, which means the bigger your file will be. For web use, I usually set the quality at around 65.

The last section I’m going to cover is “Image Sizing”. This is the size and resolution of your output file. For almost anything other than print, you want to output at 72 pixels per inch, and the size will depend on what you want to use it for. For my blog, the content section is 600 pixels wide, so I have Lightroom set the width at 600 pixels and let it automatically figure out the height.

Lightroom Publish Services

While it’s beyond the scope of this tutorial, I just wanted to point out one last thing. Lightroom has the capability to publish photos directly to web services such as Flickr and Facebook. You can setup your accounts and find all the options for this in the Library tab at the very bottom of the left panel under “Publish Services”.

I hope this tutorial has been helpful! If you have any questions, or future tutorial requests, please leave a comment below.

  • Lizzie Mabbott

    Brilliant! I always used light room to ‘auto white balance’, ‘auto tone’, crop and then export but this has really enlightened me. Thanks!

  • joannova

    Hi Marc, Thanks – this is a fine and thoughtful piece of work. Your explanations and terminology were so easy to follow. I hope you’ll do more of these.

  • Urban Swank

    This is great information! Thanks for taking my dark food photos to the next level!

  • Marie Asselin

    I’m a graphic designer so I know Photoshop very well. It’s confortable for me to use it to edit my pictures, but I’ve known for long that Lightroom is better for handling pictures, both for results and productivity sakes. I’ve been wanting to jump to Lightroom for almost two years, but I’ve always too busy, or lazy to do so! Reading your tutorial, I feel like I just have to, now! Thanks for sharing these very valuable tips.

  • Oui, Chef

    Even though I’m an Aperture user, most of these controls are the same so I will find this tutorial very helpful as I try to bring my blog shots to the next level. Thanks so much for sharing your wisdom on the subject. – S

  • Christina Johnson

    I adore Lightroom. I have been using Photoshop for years but it wasn’t until I started using Lightroom that it became reasonable to start actually doing mild editing all of the photos I take so I can really choose the best.

  • Coco

    This is great! I loved your presentation at FoodBuzz last year — it’s great to have a refresher! Will you be coming to SF this weekend?

    • Marc Matsumoto

      I’ve been meaning to write this since my presentation last year. Better late than never right:-) I won’t be at Foodbuzz fest this year unfortunately.

      • Coco

        Yes, definitely better late than never! Sorry we missed you at FoodBuzz this year — it was a good time. Lots of new faces. Hope to meet up again sometime when you’re in SF!

  • Darren Tran

    awesome… thanks!

  • Nb

    Great work!! I know so much about LR now

  • Susan P.

    Thank you so much! I really never understood how to work the histogram, and now I do! Going to try this out with the next batch of photos I have to edit.

  • David

    Great tutorial, great pictures! Thanks for sharing.

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  • Christoph

    Wow, great tutorial! I’ve never shot food, but you nicely described which slider in Lightroom does what in a general sense so that I can apply it to my landscape photos. Thank you a lot for giving this well-written introduction!

  • Dyane

    This is great – now I just need to get my hands on this stuff! My mom is a great photographer but we live 1,000 miles apart.

    My blog is

  • Dima Al Sharif

    Thank you for this tutorial, very useful with lots of insight. I am no photographer, and currently working on improving my photography for my blog, this is exactly what I need :)

  • the wicked noodle

    I’m only through Tutorial Part 1 but I’m already so jazzed that I found this post. Thanks so much for this, Marc! I’ve been an Elements user for some time but won Lightroom about six months ago (and am recently a new Mac user) and I’ve been putting off learning it. I started watching the videos but who has the time? I really wanted something from a food blogger’s perspective and I happened to come upon this post on a fluke. Happy dance!

    • the wicked noodle

      Hi Marc,
      I’m wondering if you sharpen your photos in Lightroom? I’ve always been under the impression that this is a must for photos taken with a DSLR. Can you provide any guidance for that in relation to Lightroom?



      • Marc Matsumoto

        Good question. Sharper isn’t always better as it reveals grain and compression artifacts. It can also make highlights on liquids look harsh. Personally I don’t mind food photos being a little soft. But when used in moderation it can also reveal detail in the texture of your food as well. When printing I usually apply some sharpening, but for web purposes (72 DPI) I personally don’t think it’s necessary.

      • Marc Matsumoto

        Also, your lens and camera setup will effect your need to sharpen or not. Cheaper lenses tend to be softer, especially around the edges, so sharpening in software can become necessary.

        • the wicked noodle

          Thanks Marc, good to know! I recently upgraded to the Canon 7d as well as the 24-105 lens – it would be really nice not to have to be so concerned with sharpening. I noticed yesterday that Lightroom offers the option to “sharpen for the web” when saving photos so I may try that in place of doing anything manually. In any case, I appreciate your response and feedback. Cheers!

      • Mike Sweeney

        When I switched from my crop sensor D300 which is not a slug by any stretch to my D700, my need for sharpening went WAY down. I used to use between 40-65 on sharpening with the D300. The 20s is typical now on the D700.. sometimes more but not often. This assumes web prints. If I’m printing to paper, then they get sharpened much more than you might think as paper tends to smear the image a bit.

  • Mike Sweeney

    Really nice tutorial and the clear screen shots really makes it. Thanks for sharing

  • Christabel

    Thank you for this helpful tutorial…I have just started a food blog, and I am looking to improve the quality of my pictures w/post-processing. This is a comprehensive tutorial with pictures that helps me visually understand the purpose of white balance, hue, saturation etc.

  • Mara @ What’s for Dinner?

    This has been beyond helpful! I’ve wondered about the nuances in Lightroom 4 and you made it easy to understand. Thank you!!!

  • FashionEdible

    This is an amazing article! Not only is it good for food bloggers, but I think any blogger can really benefit from it. Thanks so much!

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  • KB

    This has been extremely helpful. Thank you.

  • Wendell Principe

    hi, i followed your folder structure, just want to check how your file naming convention? thanks.

    • Marc Matsumoto

      I just leave the file names as they came off the camera sine the folder structure relays enough data for me, but you could certainly name the files as well.

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  • Ingrid

    Thank you!

  • Atiqur Sumon

    This is very helpful article i think any graphic designer an really benefit from it. Thanks so much!

  • M R Karim

    All tutorial are very professional i enjoy it and i would be apply this method my professional work. Hopefully we get more tutorial next time.

  • Chuewee

    That helpful for me, great job


I'm Marc, and I want to teach you some basic techniques and give you the confidence and inspiration so that you can cook without recipes too!

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